[Editor’s note: Carol Rodley became Cambodia’s ambassador in October 2008. In an interview with VOA Khmer in March, she discussed the growing relationship between Cambodia and the US, on topics ranging from the Khmer Rouge tribunal to the global financial crisis. Below is the fourth of a six-part series resulting from the interview.]
Q. How are the Peace Corps volunteers doing?
A. They are doing fantastic work here. Our first group of Peace Corps volunteers is just finishing up their two years of service in Cambodia. They will be leaving the end of this month and in April. They were about 25 of them in that first group. There is a second group that is in the middle of their assignments. So we have about 50 all together.
None of them are in Phnom Penh. They are all out in the provinces. They are out in the rural areas. They are living with Cambodian families, taking their meals with Cambodian families and teaching English in Cambodian schools, primarily, and doing small development projects in their areas as well.
They are having first of all a fantastic experience here but also having a big impact on the people they work with, on the students they teach, on the other teachers with whom they work in the schools, on the villages where they live, on the families they stay with, and, I think this is interesting, this is something the prime minister said to me, when they go back home they will have a big impact on the American view of Cambodia, because they have been out there seeing and getting to know the real Cambodia.
Q. The focus of the first group was education. Does the second group still focus on education?
A. Still education.
Q. How does it work? The government requested what focus they would like?
A. It was a collaborative decision. The government suggested that education would be an area where the Peace Corps could contribute. If I had twice the Peace Corps volunteers, I would want some of them to work in health as well, and the government would certainly be open to that.